Hiking Hills in Llangollen

Ride in the Rain

At 9:45 am, students who signed up for Mr Brown’s Trip into the Llangollen hills in Wales gathered at the Main Hall after breakfast for a kit check and collection of packed lunches. Mr Brown, being the caring teacher he is, had to ensure that students were properly equipped with waterproof jackets and non-slippery boots before taking off. The trip was also joined by the amiable and chatty Chemistry teacher, Ms Featherstone. Was it actually a break from school or a science revision in the hills? Contrary to the weather forecast, which promised a sunny and dry day, it was drizzling slightly in the morning. Nevertheless, we boarded the minivan and embarked on a one hour ride to Llangollen, bubbling with excitement.

Agarophobia and Ice Cream

After roughly an hour, we arrived at our destination where Mr Brown parked the minivan next to a playground that ignited the inner flame of childish excitement in the students. For a start, we walked on the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, an aqueduct 38 meters above a River Dee. Some students had to avoid looking down in order to make it from one end of the bridge to another. During the walk, we had to be careful not to accidentally knock someone else into the canal right next to us where boats carried tourists to and fro. Reaching the other end of the bridge, we took a group picture before heading back, motivated by the opportunity to get ice cream as the day got warmer and sunnier.

The Hike

Another short drive later, we arrived at the base of the mountain. Mr Brown handed a map to a Geography student appointed as his navigator. As we were having lots of fun, we didn’t realise that it was already lunch time, but we decided to wait until we reached the Castell Dinas Brân summit, the hilltop ruins of a 13th century castle built on the site of an earlier Iron Age hillfort. Hiking up hills and down hills, shared jokes, chatters and laughter overpowered our exhaustion. We also stopped at a kissing gate. There, Mr Brown gave us an instant Biology revision on the adaptations of xerophytes as we looked at the Gorse flowers as an example. Ms Featherstone warned us, based on her experience, to stay away from the flowers despites their yellow beauty as they could cause rashes.

The trails were flanked by a spellbinding view of Llangollen town under the blaze of the scorching sun. Before we even realised it, we’d reached the ruins of Castell Dinas Brân where we stopped for lunch. Never failing to surprise us, Mr Brown opened his mini-American diner, serving hotdogs and hot Ribena. As we enjoyed our delicious lunch, we talked and got to know more about each other. A tourist from Arizona also came to say hello. Lunch was followed by exploring the ruined castle and photo taking before continuing our hike. Due to the rain in the morning, the slippery, muddy path decided to make enemies with Ms Featherstone and made her fall twice.

Moving on, we made our way to the hilltop where we met our new friends, wild horses. Taking a short break, Biology students sat down surrounding Mr Brown who took out long strands of marshmallow representing polypeptides and gave us a revision on the protein structure and digestion. We continued trekking the Panorama Mountain past slippery and steep slopes before returning to our starting point, not forgetting to say hi to the sheep along the way.

Ice Cream. Again!

Wrapping up the hike, we decided to explore a little bit in the Welsh town of Llangollen. Whilst seeking for a parking space, the observant Ms Featherstone spotted a fudge and ice cream shop. That was why when we boarded the minivan again, most students had their hands occupied by resplendent cups and cones of ice cream. Since we would miss dinner upon returning to college, the students were given £7 each for takeaway dinner on our way back. Back at the college, we returned our kit and waved each other goodbye, enervated but elated.

The hike had been a great escape from the tedium of school into nature. We are all truly grateful to Mr Brown for organising the trip and Ms Featherstone’s company, and definitely looking forward to more trips in the future.

Irisa – 6.1